Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel had a bittersweet victory soon after being crowned, as rumors of pageant rigging accusations surfaced on the internet.
Gabriel disclosed that she however wasn’t affected by the rumors and it is the “sweetest” victory for her, reports E! News.
“Let me tell you, winning Miss Universe after going through all that is the sweetest, sweetest victory. I thought, this happened in my life to hopefully show people resiliency and how to keep going no matter what.”
R’Bonney Gabriel, the first Filipino American to win the Miss Universe title, as well as the first Miss USA to take home the crown in a decade, visited New York’s iconic Empire State Building pic.twitter.com/jTMVR0J7bV
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 17, 2023
Claims were also made that Gabriel’s Miss Universe win was invalid. In response, the Miss Universe Organization released a statement: “The false rigging allegations are absurd and distract from the incredible milestones our organization and the delegates experienced this weekend. Instead of focusing on unfounded statements, we will continue to shine a light on global women’s empowerment, inclusiveness, diversity, and transformational leadership.”
On top of that, nothing could break the happiness she felt after becoming the first Filipina-American Miss Universe and the first Miss USA to win the title in ten years.
“My first thought was, Did I hear that right?” she recalled. “Did they say my name? Is it me? I was in disbelief.”
After she won Miss USA, it was obviously unpleasant to be accused of profiting from an unjust process.
“It definitely affected me,” Gabriel shared. “It delayed me on days when I was trying to train for Miss Universe. I felt really frustrated, honestly, because I had put so much work into going to Miss USA to win it, and I felt like all of that was taken away from me. There were times I felt really down about it.”